Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am resolved...

It's a great day for ducks and for drought-tortured plants outside. So far, my rain gauge stands at 3.1 inches and the sky is still dripping a bit.

While the ducks and plants might enjoy the raindrops, it's a good day for humans to be inside. A good day for getting those chores done that I've been neglecting while I worked in the garden. A good day for settling in my favorite chair with a good book. A good day for thinking about my goals for my life as a gardener this year.

I don't have a great track record with making and keeping resolutions. Like so many people, every year I resolve to lose weight, get more exercise, adhere to a healthier diet and every year I soon stray from the straight and narrow. But gardening goals should be easier to keep, shouldn't they? After all, as I think about the resolutions that I might make, most of them would seem to make my life as a gardener easier and/or more interesting.

So, here goes! In 2012, I do hereby resolve to:

1. Start more plants from seed. I'm well on my way, having already received a good supply of seeds from my catalog orders. Many of these are varieties that I would never be able to find locally, so they should make my garden a more interesting place this year. I've got my light table set up in the garage. It only remains for me to get started.

2. Get a jump on the season. This actually is a corollary of #1. Starting plants from seeds will allow me to get them into the ground earlier before the sweltering summer heat hits. But getting the jump on the season also means being prepared to protect tender plants from late frosts, something I haven't always done. I'm a bit better prepared this year. Never let it be said that I haven't learned anything from the last two harsh winters we've had!

3. Be more prudent in my use of water. I don't have a sprinkler system, so I have to depend on hoses to deliver water to my plants when they need it. I would love to get a rain barrel system - just as soon as I can work that into my gardening budget. (Just think of how many barrels I could have filled today!) One thing I can easily do is invest in more soaker hoses, a much more efficient way of delivering water to the plants than sprinklers. I can also be more prudent in when I do my watering and I can lay on more mulch to help hold moisture in and keep the plants' roots cooler so they don't cook.

4. Spend more quality time in the garden. Although at some times of the year, it seems like I spend all my waking hours in the garden, I could organize my time more efficiently. For example, I am a notorious late starter in the morning. My most productive time of day is the late afternoon or after the sun goes down - not really the best circadian rhythm for a gardener, but perhaps I can reorder my days a bit and get more done in the morning hours. Then, maybe I could spend more time in the afternoons just sitting and enjoying my garden. That's important, too.

5. Use natural solutions to manage pests. Actually, I already do this for the most part. I do admit to an occasional use of Round Up, but perhaps I can even forego that chemical in my garden this year.

6. Do more to welcome wildlife. Of course, I already do this, too, as a habitat gardener and, again, this is a corollary to the previous resolution for wildlife are among the natural solutions for managing pests. But I'm always looking for more ways to make wildlife at home here. For example, there are other host plants for butterflies that I could plant and I'm sure I can find more ways to provide homes and hiding places for small reptiles and amphibians. They are all the gardener's friends, so it is in my interest to make them welcome.

7. Be more diligent about composting kitchen scraps. I was given a kitchen composting bucket as a gift last year and I used it for a while. Then we got an infestation of fruit flies that were swarming around the bucket, so I took it outside and never brought it back in. But I should be able to solve that problem and make more efficient use of kitchen waste.

8. Make better use of homegrown food. A certain amount of vegetables that I grow tends to go to waste through my laziness and neglect. Actually, that's not true. Nothing ever really goes to waste in a garden. SOMETHING uses it but sometimes it isn't me or my family. I resolve to try to do better this year and cut the losses.

9. Get more blooms into the garden. Nearly all my plants are perennials. I make little use of annuals, but these provide some of the most beautiful blooms available to a gardener and nothing welcomes a visitor to the garden more than colorful blooms. So, I resolve to plant some annuals among my perennials this year and to surround myself with blooms.

10. Be still and listen to Nature's wisdom and let it rejuvenate my spirit. It's amazing what one can see and learn just by being still, watching, and listening. The garden is my place of the spirit. I must not lose sight of that and I must be willing to hear what it is saying to me and to learn what it can teach me.

I think 2012 is going to be a very good year!


  1. I'm so glad you are sharing this. It is like a good solid swift kick in the rear for me. I use to be so good about getting out to the garden early in the morning. It actually use to be my favorite time. For some reason I began to dilly dally to much with my early hours in the house. I need to quit that and get back on track. Morning really is the best time in the garden. ~ Pammy

  2. I blame it all on the Internet, Pammy. I've fallen into the habit of doing all the stuff I do online early in the morning, with my tea. I just need to reorder my schedule - and my priorities.